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Is anyone pondering the economic impact of driverless vehicles?

 
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Fri 29 May, 2015 07:50 am
http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-may-29-2015-1.3092437

when you've got 25 minutes to listen, this is an interesting feature (were the programmers at the CBC reading along here?)

a few pros and cons we hadn't thought about yet are covered in this interesting (IMHO) item

Quote:
Driverless cars set to be on public roads in 5 years. Are we ready? After years of futuristic speculation, the self-driving vehicle may be just around the bend. We speak to a lead engineer at Volvo who wants to take driving out of your hands. And we ask about the ethical concerns driving on autopilot and how to integrate these cars into our cities.


direct link to the podcast

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/popup/audio/player.html?autoPlay=true&clipIds=2668338443
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Fri 29 May, 2015 06:45 pm
An interesting conundrum was posed on the radio today. What happens if you are cruising along in your autonomous car, approaching a tunnel, when a child darts out into the road, and falls down across the centerline. What should the car be programmed to do? What should the passenger do?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Fri 29 May, 2015 06:46 pm
Oops . . . that will be in the podcast which The Girl has posted.
0 Replies
 
motorace
 
  1  
Wed 3 Jun, 2015 12:54 am
@hingehead,
If the cost of driving your own car is going to skyrocket, then that will also impact the market for vintage and classic cars, so if you own one, sell it now while there's still a market for them...

Semi-annual styling changes in our current vehicles is a huge cost driver and profit generator... People want to be seen in the latest and greatest cars... As we take the driving experience away, owners' attachment to their vehicle will be one giant step removed, and exterior styling will become far less important except in the high-status end. Interior comfort and styling will still matter, but if you're using ride-shares all the time, will you really care much about the styling? Remember 'Checker' cabs.

Similarly, there will be less need for differentiation in powertrains. No one will care if you have a supercharged, direct-injected, 4-valve, V8 with VVT and dual overhead ‘carambas!’ Fewer engine choices means fewer development engineers will be needed... All that will matter will be reliability, production cost, fuel economy and emissions, and engines will gravitate toward common designs -nothing exotic unless the powers-that-be grant special waivers for a class of faster cars - no doubt exclusively for government use!

As computers take over more of the driving chores, they can be programmed to operate vehicles in a manner that causes the least wear and tear on the vehicle (gentler turns, shifting at lower revs, anticipating slow-downs for easier braking, avoiding pot-holes, etc) - meaning tires will last longer, engines and suspensions will need less maintenance, etc - which will have another big impact on the labor economy for automotive maintenance...

Maintenance intervals will become regular and predictable such that the engine, brakes, shocks, etc will be designed to all reach the end of their useful life at the same time - & then the entire 'powertrain module' can be robotically swapped/recycled with just a few bolts, and an electrical connector – since bodies will outlast powertrains that are in constant service.

Will motorcycles still be under human control or will those also become a hand's-off computer-driven experience to reduce fuel consumption and increase traffic density?
hingehead
 
  1  
Wed 3 Jun, 2015 01:01 am
@motorace,
Thanks Ace agree with all you said. Not sure about motorbikes. Can't see the point unless they have a human driver. Too unstable. Maybe the transition will be slow and it will gradually become to expensive to self drive. Maybe vehicles will be dual mode, so you can manual on weekends and auto while commuting.
0 Replies
 
motorace
 
  1  
Wed 3 Jun, 2015 01:18 am
@Ragman,
Trains are great for carrying heavy cargo but they are terribly inefficient for transporting humans because you're moving tons of railcar for every passsenger, with frequent starts and stops. Europeans only make rail systems look useful because they are so heavily supported by government subsidies and frequently citizens are typically required to live in concentrated city hubs where networked rails make more sense (just try and build a home on your farm in Germany - they won't let you).

Freedom 'drives' (sorry - 'motivates') human beings and the freedom & convenience to go where you want, when you want, is a huge factor in why railroads have not gained popularity in the USA. Don't begrudge the failure of Florida to invest billions in another 'rail' boondoggle. Miami built one and instead of bringing the suburbanites to the downtown, it gave the criminals easy access to the suburbs (where my Mom was one of their victims).
maxdancona
 
  0  
Thu 4 Jun, 2015 07:50 am
@motorace,
Quote:
Trains are great for carrying heavy cargo but they are terribly inefficient for transporting humans because you're moving tons of railcar for every passsenger


Hmmmm..... don't they generally put more than one passenger in a train car?

Ionus
 
  -1  
Thu 4 Jun, 2015 07:55 am
@maxdancona,
The weight of a passenger rail car is about 60 tonne but the newest are down to 50 tonne . Passengers add another 8 tonne so motorace is right, they are very inefficient . 6 to 8 times the weight of a passenger to move them .
maxdancona
 
  1  
Thu 4 Jun, 2015 07:58 am
@Ionus,
I just did a quick look at the data (we don't have to guess). It is pretty clear that as far as person-miles per BTU or fuel, trains are more than twice as efficient as passenger cars. (There was a single link to the contrary... a Telegraph article that I couldn't seem to load).

http://truecostblog.com/2010/05/27/fuel-efficiency-modes-of-transportation-ranked-by-mpg/
Ionus
 
  -4  
Thu 4 Jun, 2015 08:02 am
@maxdancona,
That surprises me but I accept what you say . I still dont think they are that efficient with time . I suppose though it is possible to have high speed rail link to cities where you get into your driverless vehicle . For that matter, you might have caught a driverless train . Do you have a ref for the fuel stats ? OOps caught you before you finished Embarrassed I'll have a look .
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  -4  
Thu 4 Jun, 2015 08:08 am
@maxdancona,
That ref really rains on the plug-in hybrids parade . I wonder if the greenies know that .
maxdancona
 
  2  
Thu 4 Jun, 2015 10:46 am
@Ionus,
What do you mean Ionus?

The reference I linked to scores the plug-in hybrids at 3 times the person-miles per gallon of a normal car? That seems pretty good to me.
Ionus
 
  -1  
Thu 4 Jun, 2015 09:30 pm
@maxdancona,
You are right . I really have to stop posting after midnight .
0 Replies
 
jcboy
 
  1  
Mon 20 Jul, 2015 07:41 pm
I've never dialed a rotary phone, watched a black and white TV, adjusted rabbit ear antennas, set a timer to record something on a VHS tape, used 5.25" floppies with a computer that had 64KB of memory and no internal storage (also a cassette drive and cartridge slot), but I remember when Disney-MGM Studios opened and Las Vegas was still building "family friendly" resorts. And now I have an iPhone 6 and flat screen HD LED-backlit TV. That said, driverless cars and hoverboards have always been stupid, ridiculous ideas. Cool
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Mon 20 Jul, 2015 08:02 pm
http://www.smh.com.au/content/dam/images/g/h/5/m/m/7/image.related.articleLeadwide.620x349.gh5meq.png/1432085844818.jpg
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Mon 20 Jul, 2015 08:10 pm
Sorry, didn't mean to disrupt the flow of conversation, just thought that was funny.

I found that looking at pictures of the interiors of concept driverless cars.

That got me thinking how the interior could look like, well, anything you want.

I'm wondering the idea of not owning, but just renting a DC for the times you need to go to work and get home would change the idea of the 8 to 5 job. It would make for more efficiency if people's work start times were staggered to start at 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10am
People with children may opt to stay with the traditional 8am, but other times would probably work better for many many people.

Somehow work start = 8am has been so ingrained in the U.S. I've always hated that.
hingehead
 
  1  
Mon 20 Jul, 2015 09:33 pm
@chai2,
You did no disservice to the topic Chai.

I don't think of it as a rental situation - more like a taxi or uber 'hire'. So none of the admin around a rental. Just get on, pay, get off.

As a side note, inspired by Max's stuff above about electric cars I thought I'd share this piece on the history of cars
http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/06/how-tesla-will-change-your-life.html#part2

I found it fascinating that internal combustion engines were seen as 'old tech' before Henry Ford built anything. That back in the late 19th century the electric car was seen as the most likely future for the car, it was just a series of enablers that made the car, as we grew up with it, have the gas burning technology as default.

The writer contends that internal combustion was never 'progress' in the purest sense of the word. The whole article is fascinating. But that piece can stand on it's own.
hingehead
 
  1  
Mon 20 Jul, 2015 09:35 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Hmmmm..... don't they generally put more than one passenger in a train car?


Hi Max - indeed they do - but all those passengers have very different destinations - the train is only part of the journey. The driverless uber is all of it.
0 Replies
 
hingehead
 
  1  
Mon 20 Jul, 2015 09:49 pm
@hingehead,
Well I'll be.

Bloomberg agrees
http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-07-20/tesla-just-did-something-big-in-the-car-world
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  0  
Mon 20 Jul, 2015 10:23 pm
@hingehead,
hingehead wrote:



I don't think of it as a rental situation - more like a taxi or uber 'hire'. So none of the admin around a rental. Just get on, pay, get off.




Yeah, yeah, that's what I was trying to say. I knew rental didn't sound right, just couldn't think of the word.

We have Cars 2 Go here. You find a car with an app, get in, drive off, leave it wherever you end up. Someone has to orbit around all day picking up the cars left in neighborhoods and bringing them back to better pickup areas.

I'd use a driverless car if I could order it and have it arrive at my house. I could see not even owning a car if I didn't have to wait more than 10 or 15 minutes for it to arrive.
0 Replies
 
 

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